Riding on back-to-back routs in Games 2 and 3, the rampaging Gin Kings look to finish off the Batang Pier tonight at Smart Araneta Coliseum and reward themselves with their first finals apperance since their Commissioner’s Cup conquest in 2018.
The STAR/ File
Kings try to finish off B-Pier
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - December 20, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Barangay Ginebra has put NorthPort in a chokehold and the Gin Kings don’t intend to ease up until they put away the Batang Pier for good in their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal showdown.

Riding on back-to-back routs in Games 2 and 3, the rampaging Gin Kings look to finish off the Batang Pier tonight at Smart Araneta Coliseum and reward themselves with their first finals apperance since their Commissioner’s Cup conquest in 2018.

Coach Tim Cone and the Gin Kings, however, brace for a tough resistance from the embattled Batang Pier, a bunch with a track record of overcoming four successive do-or-die assignments in the elims and quarters to get to this stage.

“The series is only 2-1. We’re looking good right now with two wins, but Friday is a new day, it’s still 50-50, you don’t get brownie points for a big win,” Cone cautioned after the Gin Kings hammered out a masterful 132-105 triumph to get on the hill.

“In the playoffs, you don’t get any pogi points for winning big. It still just goes down to a 2-1 lead. It’s not like you win by 30, you get two wins; same as if you won by one point, it’s still one win. For them whether it’s 30 or one point, it’s just one loss. So Friday is a 50-50 game. Just nice to have a headstart and kinda dictate the series and force the other team to make adjustments,” he added.

The Batang Pier, who have beaten the Gin Kings before in the elims (98-96) and Game 1 (124-90), vowed to fight their way out of trouble like they did in their last two elims assignments and the quarterfinal against twice-to-beat No. 1 NLEX.

“It’s a knockout game for us again. We already overcame four of these so we’ll be focused, ready to go and pick it up defensively (in Game 4),” said NorthPort skipper Sean Anthony, whose team may have to do this without injured Sol Mercado and Kevin Ferrer. 

“This is not the time to hang our heads and be like, ‘oh, we lost by 30.’ This is the time to say ‘oh my God I can learn playing against this team, playing all-out,’” said NorthPort big man Christian Standhardinger.

Jeff Chan, whose hot outside shooting ignited Barangay Ginebra’s second-quarter breakaway last Wednesday, said the Gin Kings should match the intensity that a desperate NorthPort is expected to bring.

“We expect them to go all-out being in a do-or-die situation. We’ll play like it’s do-or-die for us, too, we don’t want this to reach a (deciding) Game 5 anymore because things would get harder. We’ll go out focused, aggressive both offensively and defensively, and I think we’ll be fine,” said Chan.

GIN KINGS PBA TIM CONE
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